The object of the Confraternity
The Confraternity of Christian Mothers has for its object the Christian home education of children by truly Christian Mothers. It plans to unite by the observance of its rules and regulations all Christian ladies, married or widowed, who are willing to assist one another to attain this noble purpose. Under the special patronage of the "Mother of Sorrows" the members are encouraged joyously and hopefully to undertake the important task of training and sanctifying the young souls entrusted to their care. They are schooled to edify one another by word and deed, to support one another by fervent prayers and thus become the mainstay of spiritual life within their own family, and a fruitful source of blessings to the community in which they live.
What strikes us particularly about the origin of the Christian Mothers' Confraternity is that it was so spontaneous. It was not something that was foisted upon Catholic women, but something that grew out of themselves. It was one of those providential movements of the lay apostolate by which the Holy Spirit so often renews the spirit of the Church or of some group within the Church.
It was at a time, about the middle of the 19th century, when the modern forces undermining family life first began to lift their heads, that the Christian Mothers reacted in a spiritual and spiritualizing movement. It was a movement of self-defense and self-preservation.
In various parts of France, and especially in Lille, mothers began to gather to pray with and for one another, and their children, to discuss their problems and to advise one another regarding the Christian rearing of their children.
The movement gradually solidified, and on May 1, 1850, the first conference of Christian Mothers was held in Lille, France, under the leadership of Louise Josson de Bilhem, the wife of a court official. In the course of time, the mothers sought and found recognition from the bishop for their growing organization. Once that approval was given, the organization grew with leaps and bounds, throughout France and the neighboring countries, and soon over a million women were enrolled as members.
The society found its way into America at an early date, and on the 16th of January, 1881, the Confraternity of Christian Mothers canonically erected in St. Augustine's Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., was raised to the rank of an Archconfraternity with the right of affiliating other Confraternities wherever the Ordinary approved.
What is the goal of this Confraternity?
The goal of this Confraternity is not simply to unite mothers in prayer, but also to instruct, educate and inspire mothers in performing their duties and in practicing virtue. By Catholic instruction at regular meetings, it strives to encourage and impress on them the importance of motherhood and to inflame them with ardent zeal. Its aim is to show them the way of attaining their own sanctification and that of their families and to induce them to bring up their children as useful members of society ensuring their temporal and especially their eternal welfare.
Who can join this Confraternity?
Any Catholic woman, married or widow, with or without children, old and young alike are admitted to the Confraternity as long as they intend to promote the aims of the Confraternity and comply with its statutes. Once enrolled, you are a member for life enjoying its many benefits during life and especially at death. The deceased members and their children are forever recommended to the hearts, prayers and merits of their associates.
Why would I want to join this Confraternity?
There are many advantages for the woman who joins the Christian Mothers. First, a Christian Mother is under the powerful protection and intercession of Mary, our Mother of Sorrows, the chief patroness of the organization, as well as other special patrons of Christian Mothers: St. Joseph, St. John the Apostle, St. Augustine, St. Anthony, St. Aloysius, St. Anne (the Mother of Mary), St. Elizabeth (Mary's cousin), and Saints Gerard and Monica (the patron saints of mothers).
In return for all these benefits, a Christian Mother takes on the obligation to recite a daily prayer for the children and to offer a monthly Mass for the members. There is a monthly meeting which consists of Mass, a meeting, and a talk on an appropriate topic. Often the topic of discussion centers around the character formation of children--one of the main purposes of the confraternity.
One of the special advantages in membership is the actual presence of Our Divine Lord with His graces: "Where two or more are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." There are many indulgences attached to membership of this Confraternity provided the members go to confession, receive Holy Communion and have the intention of gaining these indulgences. A plenary indulgence is given on the day of admission; another at the hour of death if they pronounce the holy name of Jesus; on the principle feast of the Confraternity or its octive and on the ten feasts named in the Confraternity's manual. There are also many partial indulgences given to members. The most interesting advantage of being a member is this: every single time a mother (being in the state of grace and with good intention) instructs her children, rewards or punishes them in the interest of Christian training and says a prayer or performs a good work receives a remission of temporal punishment incurred by sin! Every time she does this! How many times do mothers guide, instruct and help their children in one day? Through this Confraternity, members could work off all their purgatory time by doing what they do anyway!
Mothers rule the world
Mothers guide the destinies of the home and children. A mothers' influence is felt for all time and eternity. The world will never be better until mothers get closer to Jesus and Mary in their homes. God is relying on mothers to step up and keep Christ alive in the world by keeping Him alive in our hearts and homes. Through Mother Mary and her Confraternity you can accomplish this. Are you ready to accept this challenge?